Breckenridge, Keystone ski resorts to open early for first time in nearly a decade |

Breckenridge, Keystone ski resorts to open early for first time in nearly a decade

The past week’s parade of impressive snow storms here in the High Country has resulted in such promising conditions that Vail Resorts’ two premier Summit County properties will open early — each for the first time in nearly a decade.

Both Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort will open on Wednesday, rather than the originally-planned Friday, for the 2018-19 winter season. The resorts say up to five feet of snow has fallen across Breckenridge and Keystone since mid-October, with up to four feet of snow in the past week alone.

At Breckenridge, lifts will open at 9 a.m., while the BreckConnect Gondola will provide access from town to Peak 8 beginning at 8 a.m. On Peak 8, skiers and riders will have access to terrain off of the Colorado SuperChair and Rip’s Ride. The resort says terrain updates will continue to be made throughout the week.

Keystone will offer skiing and riding on beginner trails Schoolmarm and Silver Spoon, with access provided by the River Run Gondola and the Montezuma Express Chairlift on the frontside of Keystone’s main peak, Dercum Mountain, beginning at 9 a.m. There will be an early season A51 Terrain Park located on Schoolmarm with eight features.

Soon thereafter, Keystone will officially open North Peak on Friday, Nov. 9, with intermediate terrain available. Guests will have access to the intermediate trail Prospector via the Outpost Gondola and Santiago Express.

To celebrate opening on Wednesday at Breckenridge, guests can enjoy complimentary waffles provided by The Waffle Shop — a new on-mountain dining offering that will open this season at The Maggie on Peak 9 — and music from DJ DC.

Additional opening weekend celebrations will continue on the morning of Friday, Nov. 9 with the Brothers of Brass, bringing the sounds of New Orleans street music to the slopes of Breckenridge. The resort will also honor a local Veteran and the Summit County High School choir will perform the National Anthem prior to first chair.

“This is the first time in nearly 10 years that either Breckenridge or Keystone will be opening early,” said John Buhler, Breckenridge’s vice president and chief operating officer. “It’s been a snowy start to the season and it is official; the skiing and snowboarding season is here. We are thrilled to kick off the winter season this week and anticipate opening up a variety of terrain quickly at the resorts.”

On Wednesday, Keystone will offer homemade breakfast treats from Keystone’s new executive pastry chef, as well as hot chocolate and coffee at the base of River Run Gondola.

Guests will also have access to ski and snowboard lessons with the Keystone Ski & Ride School, rentals, food and beverage options including 9280 Tap House and Starbucks in River Run Village, and the Summit House atop Dercum Mountain.

Then on Friday, Keystone will celebrate with raffles and prizes, including Helly Hansen hats and backpacks and Starbucks gift packs, music and expanded terrain.

Despite the in-bounds openings, uphill access at both Breckenridge and Keystone is currently not permitted due to early season mountain preparations and snowmaking. Each resort says they will announce when uphill access is open to guests once early season operations are complete and there’s adequate terrain to safely permit.

Even with the new opening day plan, Breckenridge’s “Wake Up Breck” event will still take place this Thursday at 7 a.m., as originally planned. Up at the resort, you’ll be able to pick up a free commemorative coffee mug and a free cup of coffee, compliments of Breckenridge.

Participating coffee shops for the 2018-19 event include Starbucks, Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House, Cool River Coffee House, Daylight Donuts, The Coffee Depot at Main Street Station, Cuppa Joe’s, Kava Café, The Crown and Cabin Coffee of Breckenridge.

Eldora to open Wednesday

Over in Nederland, Eldora Mountain will also open for the season on Wednesday, nine days ahead of schedule.

Wednesday will mark Eldora’s earliest opening in more than two decades. The Alpenglow chairlift — a high-speed, six-person lift installed prior to last season — will start spinning at 9 a.m., giving skiers and snowboarders access to intermediate terrain, including the La Belle, Hornblower and International trails. No beginner terrain, uphill or Nordic Center access will be available.

“With more than three feet of natural snow since October 8 and consistently cold temperatures, we are very excited to be opening earlier than we had planned,” said Brent Tregaskis, Eldora’s president and general manager. “Eldora is fortunate to be the first Colorado resort on the Ikon Pass to open, and one of the first resorts to be open in the country. It’s going to be a great season — c’mon up!”

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